Krone Still Limps, but Rides Winner
Julie Krone still walks with a limp, a painful reminder of a near-death spill 16 months ago at Saratoga.
But you don’t have to walk well to ride a horse well. The only woman to win a Triple Crown race returned with five mounts Wednesday after her second recovery from a shattered ankle.
“It only hurts when I walk, it doesn’t hurt when I ride, so don’t worry,” she told fans on opening day at Gulfstream Park.
Krone first raced again nine months after the spill, but was sidelined again several weeks later when she had surgery to remove two plates and 13 screws from her ankle last fall.
This time, her return before 22,500 marked a new beginning for the 31-year-old jockey.
“Taking so much time, the nine months and now this time--it just slowed me down so much,” she said. “Now we have to go, like starting over again.”
Krone won aboard favored Mr. Greeley ($3.20) in the Breeders’ Cup Spectacular Bid Stakes Wednesday as the 3-year-old ran six furlongs in 1:10 3/5, finishing six lengths in front. Krone was out of the money in her other four races.
After the third race, Krone was given an award signed by Gov. Lawton Chiles and local officials to commemorate her return.
Just as she had to do when she was younger, Krone has been riding for smaller stables, since she no longer is a hot commodity.
“It’s a little bit hard to crack those top stables . . . when you’re not the top rider and you’re not on a roll,” she told several hundred fans before Wednesday’s races. “I think, ‘I just won 20 races for that guy last year, and he doesn’t even remember my name practically.’ ”
Fans applauded when Krone told them she’s engaged to Albany, N.Y., sportscaster Matthew Muzikar. She giggled when she told fans about spending New Year’s Eve with him, and warned an admirer not to try to steal a kiss because “my boyfriend’s 6-foot-4, 215 pounds.”
The 4-foot-10, 100-pound Krone recalled how she cried on Aug. 20, 1993, after winning her fifth race in one day at Saratoga. Only Angel Cordero and Ron Turcotte had done the same in the track’s history.
Krone said she had thought of not racing that day, because she had a sore throat, cough and slight fever.